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pringfield now has more video gambling sites than any other city in Illinois, says a September report from the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.

The video gambling industry in the state continues to grow. In comparison, gaming terminals statewide collected just $121 million in FY2013, while less than a decade later they collected $1.9 billion in FY2021.

The new video gambling craze has been particularly profitable for central Illinois. For instance, Sangamon County collected $24.9 million in tax revenue in FY2021, the 6th highest county in the state, out of which $21.2 million went to the state and $3.7 million to the county.

However, this form of gambling has not only reported extra tax revenue for the state and municipalities but also allows small businesses to collect extra revenue by offering the terminals at their venues.

“That was the idea of this legislation from the beginning, that bar owners and small businesses and things like that can create other sources of revenue,” said Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, according to WICS.

In regard to municipalities, Springfield had the most terminals (736 terminals), while Decatur generated the highest amount of net terminal income ($38.8 million) in FY 2021. Springfield has the third highest income, at $37.1 million collected.

Despite the fact that the City of Chicago is not participating in video gaming, Cook County still has by far the most video gaming terminals of any county in the State, with over 7,500 terminals. The counties of Lake, Will, Winnebago and Sangamon round out the top five.

Nearly $100 million in tax revenues to local governments were generated in FY 2021, a large growth that has occurred despite the fact that play was suspended between parts of November through January.

Reasons for the growth include increases in terminal and betting limits, a higher tax rate (now at 34%), pent-up demand, increases in discretionary income, and a perceived “safer” environment of local gaming establishments versus the more public casino, says the gaming report.

The industry explosion has now gone beyond small businesses, now including standalone gambling parlors in the streets of Springfield. While Mayor Jim Langfelder has pushed for a cap on the number of gaming licenses within the city, this has not happened. The strategy now aims at stricter ordinances on who can apply for gaming licenses and when.

Langfelder’s voice is not the only one that has raised concerns on the current video terminal explosion. “It looks pretty close to saturation point to me, at least in Sangamon County,” said Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch, according to the previously cited news source.

Maisch attributed the local gaming explosion to the lack of nearby casinos, and says better resources are needed in order to combat addiction. He is also in favor of conversations on license caps in some communities, in which residents can’t go “more than a few blocks without finding somewhere to play.”





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